Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Ageism in the BBC just reflects the deep-rooted problem in this society, when it comes to how we view women

The visual media must be made of youthful, attractive women. Fact.  I'm not sure whether Miriam O Reilly, understood this fact when she made her claim and wanted to try to begin the war against it, or whether she actually believed that this society has room for every Tom, Dick or Harry on its' visual platforms and she believed, her case was the anomaly.

The truth is, ask any person what the criteria would be for taking a job as a presenter on television and I'm sure the answer would include the need to look good.  The Apprentice's runner up Kate Walsh who spent the entire series trying to prove she was not just a pretty face, very nicely got hold of a job at Channel 5 it is clear, because of her pretty face. Some may argue, well she is very articulate and sharp as well - Well yes, but I haven't seen any of the other articulate and sharp women from the show, getting a presenting job on television.

The reality that Miriam experienced at Countryfile, indeed reflects an approach we as a society have towards people, and women in particular. They have to be appealing to the eye.  Even though around us, on the streets we see very normal women who do not fit the size 8 model, do not have fly away Loreal hair and definitely are not all under the age of 35.  In  fact this supermodel image is virtually alien on the street and does not reflect reality at all.  But we as women, are content to see it on our screens and more dangerously, aspire towards it, always feeling we do not make the mark.

It is clear the multi-billion dollar beauty industry are cause of this.  They have realised that this unreachable target women wish to achieve in their image can create alot of revenue - From anti-wrinkle creams, to the endless amount of hair products, cosmetics to slimming tablets.  The endless list reveals a desperate desire for us women, to want to be someone we are not. 

What this perception of ourselves tells us moreso, is that in a society where we deem ourselves liberated, we in fact have become absolutely enslaved to measuring ourselves predominantly as women by the way we look.  Forget who we are, the values we carry and what we can contribute, lets face it, being a woman in our free society first and foremost is about needing to look sexually appealing. So how far have we really come in the value of the contributions of women from the era we were enslaved to the kitchen, subject to the whims of the husband?

Is this what the 'freedoms' have amounted to for the women? That despite the fact that yes, she is free to vote, work and have a career, men are also free to view her purely for her exterior is they so wish, and billion dollar industries are free to exploit her to make money in whatever way they wish.  Is this the freedom, which arises from the liberal secular way of life which we should as a world, be calling for? Honestly speaking - I think not.

I don't want the danger of 'freedom' to be unleashed on me.  I want protection, honour and enshrined rights.  Islam, in its ideas and implementation provides this.  People and companies in an Islamic society cannot view me in whatever way gives them satisfaction or revenue.  They must view me according to the values and system of Islam - The Prophet SAW said 'The world and all things in it are precious, but the most precious thing of all is a virtuous woman.'  Here, the emphasis is clearly placed upon the values and character of the woman, over anything else.  The social system of Islam then helps maintain this view, where general segregation of sexes, hijab and forbidding the woman to do jobs which exploit her femininity are a few of the laws.  This means women can be valued in society for their actual contributions, as the sexual instinct is limited to the private sphere of marriage, not left to run loose in society. The society is therefore not left to choose how they want to view the woman, according to their benefit, Allah SWT shapes this view for us.

So Miriam O Reilly and others who applauded this case should realise that although her case maybe a step in the right direction, it is like taking a step against a forceful current - Such actions will never overturn it.  To enable women to really be valued we must overturn the values that we live by in society, realising the freedoms arising from secularism are the real enslavement of the woman.  It is Islam, and only Islam, I truly believe which can liberate the woman from the endless darkness that she goes through, into light.  And this is the only avenue, we as an Ummah should seek in our politics, in the Muslim world.

Surah Ibrahim: 'Alif L'am Ra. O Muhammad! This is a Book which We have revealed to you so that you may bring mankind out of utter darkness (ways of ignorance) to the light, by the leave of their Lord, to the Way of the Mighty, the Praiseworthy (Allah)'


Anonymous said...

mashallah, v informative and straight forward article..

jazakillah khari

aMuslimahWrites said...

Masha'Allah you are a gifted writer sis. This writing piece is so informative and accurate. Just because many muslims live in muslim women (and western women) live in the western societies they conform to what the media wants them to perpetuate and thus submit to the rules and regulations of the modern day's tale on what a women should look like / should attain to look like.

I've recently started wearing full hijab and subhan'Allah I have never felt more liberated in my life than I have recently.